March 28th, 2008

Today U.S. Ambassador Anne Derse visited the family imprisoned “Azadlig” Newspaper Chief Editor Ganimet Zahid.

Zahid’s wife Ayanda Murselaliyeva told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety that Derse made general statement about democracy, freedom of expression and so on. In response to this, Murselaliyeva emphasized that these are just general platitudes, and it would be better to take more concrete actions. She recommended that Derse meet with President Ilham Aliyev to discuss shortcomings in the areas of democracy and press and expression freedom.
In addition to this, yesterday Emin Fatullayev, the father of “Gundalik Azerbayjan” and “Realny Azerbayjan” newspapers’ Chief Editor Eynulla, met with U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Officer Jonathan Henick in the U.S. Embassy. “Yeni Musavat” Newspaper cited Henick as saying, “I met with the chief editor’s father, and conveyed what he said and information about the health of his son to the ambassador. Our position on this matter has not changed.” Henick said the free press is an indivisible part of democracy. He added, “Conducting a hunger-strike in prison is very dangerous. Unfortunately they have been forced to take this step. We have on numerous occasions raised this matter in our bilateral relations and we continue to do this. I hope that the problems will be solved, however this is not in our hands.”